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Patrick Beaver was often taken as a child to the Crystal Palace and remembers it with affection. He was on the spot when it burned to the ground in 1936. During the 1939-45 war, he served in the Royal Engineers and when peace came worked as a professional musician for over twenty years. In 1964 he tired of music and turned to writing. His first venture was a script for a documentary, produced and directed by himself, about Brunel's steamship, the Great Eastern. It was a great success and other documentaries followed. As a writer he has a national reputation in the fields of industrial and social history.